JUST IN: Industrial Court Orders RMAFC to Jerk up CJN’s Salary to N10m, Other JSCs to N9m
The National Industrial Court, Abuja has ordered the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to immediately put machinery in place for the upward review of salaries of judicial officers in the country.
The Court specifically ordered RMAFC to commence a monthly payment of N10 million to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and N9 million to other justices of the apex court.
According to the ruling delivered on Friday, the President of Court of Appeal is to start earning N10 million while other justices of the appellate court are to start earning N8 million.
Chief Judges of both Federal and States High Courts are to earn N8 million, while judges of the Federal and States High Courts are to earn N7 million monthly.
Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osagie delivered the ruling on Friday in the suit filed by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Sebastian Hon, asking the court to compel the defendants to increase the salaries and allowances of judges in the country, adding that the current economic reality in the country requires that the salaries and allowances of the nation’s judges be urgently improved upon.
The judge lamented that “judges have been victims of great injustice” describing their poor salaries as a “national shame”.
She also ordered yearly or at most biennual upward review of salaries for the affected judicial officers.
She ordered that “the judgement is to be served on the 2nd defendant (AGF) immediately,” criticising the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for arguing that judges have no legal right to have their salaries reviewed upwards.
Hon had stated that as a legal practitioner, “who has practised in all the levels of courts in Nigeria, I know that poor pay for judicial officers is seriously affecting the quality of judgments and rulings those officers are delivering and the discharge of other functions associated with their offices.”
He argued that the current economic reality in the country requires that the salaries and allowances of the nation’s judges be urgently improved upon.
Hon, who quoted what all judicial officers currently earn as provided under Part IIB of the Schedule to the Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc) Amendment Act 2008, said the paltry sums have discouraged him from aspiring to become a judge.
He pointed out that it is about 14 years since the salaries and allowances of judges were last reviewed upward in 2008 despite the loss of value of the naira vis-à-vis other global currencies like the U.S. dollar, the British pound sterling and the European Union (EU) euro, etc.
“As of November 2008 when the amended Act was in force, the exchange rate between the naira and the U.S dollar was N117.74 to USD1,” he said.